Movistar Yamaha Search for Grip in Catalan Qualifying
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales will be starting tomorrows Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from ninth place on the grid after battling his way through Q1 to enter Q2. Teammate Valentino Rossi lines up in 13th for the seventh round of the MotoGP season held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The track was returned to the 2016 Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya race layout, so only the FP3 results would determine which riders would secure a place in Q2. As the Factory Yamaha teammates finished outside the top10 in the morning free practice session, they had to take part in Q1.
Viñales had a relatively easy pass through Q1 to promote to Q2. He was out of the box early, ahead of the field, and immediately moved up to second on his first flying lap. He returned to the box with six and a half minutes remaining.
When the Spaniard resumed his attack, he was still sitting in second position and set a 1'44.934s, improving his time if not his place, but the lap was fast enough for him to hold onto a place in Q2 until the end of the session.
The home rider didn't waste a minute at the start of the second session to get a flying lap in and shortly held second place, before being pushed back to fourth as the riders behind him crossed the line. Unable to better his time on the next two tries, he rode into pit lane with less than seven minutes to go.
A minute later, Vinales headed back out on track for another go. He found himself in eighth place, but was ready to fight back with a personal best lap, taking fifth. Two minutes then remained to advance his position, but he had to settle for ninth, on the third row on the grid, with a best time of 1'44.620s.
In Q1, Rossi waited for the first group of riders to get out on track before he left pit lane and took fifth place on his second flying lap. He quickly returned to the pits with less than six minutes on the clock for a tyre swap.
The Italian was eager to improve on his second stint, though he had only four minutes left to put in two more laps. He was pushed back to seventh as the pace quickened, but soon moved up to fourth on his next attempt. He had time for one more go and was looking threatening, only to miss out on an entry into Q2 when he bettered his placement in the rankings to third with a 1'44.661s. He will start tomorrow's race from the fifth row on the grid.
Position: 9th - Time: 1'44.620 - Laps: 8
"Compared to yesterday we improved the bike a little bit, but for us the problem isnt the bike, but rather a combination of factors. Ive tried many set-ups today and nothing was working, not even our basic set-up. I was just going to try to do my best and thats what I did. I aim to make a good start tomorrow and then I will try my best again."
Position: 13th - Time: 1'44.661 - Laps: 7
"We had some good ideas for today, so I expected to be more competitive, but its a little bit like the situation in Jerez, with a lack of grip we suffer a lot with the tyres and the qualifying was bad. I was also unlucky I lost the entry into Q2 by just one position, so for sure its difficult because the pace is not fantastic. It will be a hard race for everybody because the tyres seem to struggle to produce grip, especially in the hot conditions it will be hard, but we will try something else tomorrow morning and well see."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We tried different settings and various tyre options with both Maverick's and Valentino's bike during FP3 and FP4, but none of the options gave us the expected improvement. With this in mind, Mavericks achievement of coming through Q1 shows how hard hes pushing. Valentino put in a couple of strong laps towards the end of the first qualifying session, but unfortunately he just missed out on Q2 by 0.040s and will be starting from 13th place. We still have a lot of work to do for tomorrow, we will be working hard this evening to come up with solutions that we can test in the warm up, which will be crucial to prepare for the race."
Rapid Folger Qualifies as Top Yamaha in Catalunya Focused Zarco Ready for Tomorrow
Jonas Folger delivered a strong qualifying performance today at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya and will begin the race from the third row of the grid. The young German just missed out on Q2 by only 0.023 in FP3, yet he thoroughly impressed in the ultra-competitive Qualifying 1 session by storming to a superb lap time that saw him top the Q1 standings. Then, in the second shootout, Folger quickly laid down his pace and eventually finished 0.380 back from the front row and now he confidently looks on to tomorrow.
Whilst Johann Zarco will launch forward from 14th after a determined performance in the nail-biting Q1 shootout. The fast French rider waited until the last part of the practice before taking to the track and charging forward. Eventually, his best time was just 0.060 back from second and as a result, he will begin his quest to seal a strong finish tomorrow from the 5th row.
Position: 8th - Time: 1'44.600 - Laps: 5
"I am really happy with what we achieved today and I am fully confident for the race. Q1 went very well and I was almost slightly surprised by my lap time! I tried to do the same thing in Q2 but it was harder because maybe I pushed too much and so I started to experience some issues. In addition, I was a bit tired after the first qualifying, which made it more difficult. However, I am pleased because we have been strong throughout the weekend so far and we have good balance. I feel positive about the track and the YZR-M1 so I am sure that we can have a really solid day tomorrow."
Position: 14th - Time: 1'44.681 - Laps: 4
"Today was tricky but I am certain that we can close the weekend positively tomorrow. This morning, I was not able to ride as quickly as I wanted and needed to, and we experienced the same issue that we did on the first day. Then, I had quite a fast crash so I had to use FP4 to get my confidence back up. We kept working on the bike, but this weekend the feeling has been difficult to find and I was not able to feel super strong. However, the qualifying went well because I used only one set of tyres, and I didnt want to spend a lot of energy in case I made it into Q2. I was competitive and I just missed out on the second qualifying, but it was really competitive in Q1. I will start from 14th, but this is not the end of the world. We need to remain calm in order to have a positive race. I think that some of the other riders will struggle, so being strong and focused will make the difference."